5 Large Structures That Have Been Moved Short Distances

I was driving around my neighborhood recently and discovered this creepy looking house that the city is getting ready to move across town. Still not exactly sure why (seems demolishing it would be better), but it got me thinking: what other big structures have been moved and why? Here are five that have interesting histories.

1. Belle Tout Lighthouse


Built in the early 1800s and located in Beachy Head, East Sussex, the Belle Tout Lighthouse was moved 56 feet in 1999 as a retreating coastline threatened its existence. The 850-ton landmark was moved using hydraulic jacks that pushed the lighthouse along four beams that were lubricated with grease.

Lighthouse fun fact: Early lighthouses like these that were built before electricity, relied on oil lamps to guide the ships. The Belle Tout Lighthouse had so many lamps, it went through 2 gallons of oil every hour.

2. Empire Theater

The revitalization of Time Square and 42nd Street in New York City during the 1990s (some called it the Disneyfication) was in full swing when the 7.4 million pound Empire Theater was rolled down the block to its current home. Traveling less than a foot per minute along eight rails (sort of like a train, if you can picture that), the theater was successfully moved 168 feet over the course of four hours. The 86-year-old former burlesque house was moved to clear the way for a 25-screen movie theater, the biggest in the country at the time.

Speaking of big:
the Empire is considered the biggest structure ever moved in New York City.

3. Brown University's Peter Green House

greenhouseA few years ago at Brown University, a 300-ton house built in 1868 was moved 450 feet to make way for a series of linked green spaces and walkways. The house, which is used by the department of history, was moved over a 3-day period and also rotated 90 degrees in the process.

How now Brown cow?
In its nearly 250-year history, Brown has relocated 26 buildings around campus!

4. Abu Simbel


Pharaoh Ramesses II had these magnificent temples built in the 13th century BC to commemorate an alleged victory in battle. But more than three thousand years later, in 1964, they had to be cut into pieces and moved 65 meters up to higher ground to avoid flooding from construction of a nearby dam along the banks of the Nile River.

Let my temple go, already
: It took 4 years to dismember the temples, number the pieces, and then reconstruct everything up at the new site.

5. Floating Church of the Redeemer

floatingBuilt in Bordentown, NJ in 1847, the Floating Church of the Redeemer was towed along the Delaware some 40 miles to the Dock Street wharf in Philadelphia. When they lost their lease a few years later, the church floated back across the river to Camden, NJ, where it was rolled on wooden columns to a nearby lot.

A not-so-merry Christmas: Several years after it dropped anchor in Camden, the church was destroyed by fire on Christmas morning.




Win a Trip to Any National Park By Instagramming Your Travels

If you're planning out your summer vacation, make sure to add a few national parks to your itinerary. Every time you share your travels on Instagram, you can increase your chances of winning a VIP trip for two to the national park of your choice.

The National Park Foundation is hosting its "Pic Your Park" sweepstakes now through September 28. To participate, post your selfies from visits to National Park System (NPS) properties on Instagram using the hashtag #PicYourParkContest and a geotag of the location. Making the trek to multiple parks increases your points, with less-visited parks in the system having the highest value. During certain months, the point values of some sites are doubled. You can find a list of participating properties and a schedule of boost periods here.

Following the contest run, the National Park Foundation will decide a winner based on most points earned. The grand prize is a three-day, two-night trip for the winner and a guest to any NPS property within the contiguous U.S. Round-trip airfare and hotel lodging are included. The reward also comes with a 30-day lease of a car from Subaru, the contest's sponsor.

The contest is already underway, with a leader board on the website keeping track of the competition. If you're looking to catch up, this national parks road trip route isn't a bad place to start.

15 Dad Facts for Father's Day

Gather 'round the grill and toast Dad for Father's Day—the national holiday so awesome that Americans have celebrated it for more than a century. Here are 15 Dad facts you can wow him with today.

1. Halsey Taylor invented the drinking fountain in 1912 as a tribute to his father, who succumbed to typhoid fever after drinking from a contaminated public water supply in 1896.

2. George Washington, the celebrated father of our country, had no children of his own. A 2004 study suggested that a type of tuberculosis that Washington contracted in childhood may have rendered him sterile. He did adopt the two children from Martha Custis's first marriage.

3. In Thailand, the king's birthday also serves as National Father's Day. The celebration includes fireworks, speeches, and acts of charity and honor—the most distinct being the donation of blood and the liberation of captive animals.

4. In 1950, after a Washington Post music critic gave Harry Truman's daughter Margaret's concert a negative review, the president came out swinging: "Some day I hope to meet you," he wrote. "When that happens you'll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!"

5. A.A. Milne created Winnie the Pooh for his son, Christopher Robin. Pooh was based on Robin's teddy bear, Edward, a gift Christopher had received for his first birthday, and on their father/son visits to the London Zoo, where the bear named Winnie was Christopher's favorite. Pooh comes from the name of Christopher's pet swan.

6. Kurt Vonnegut was (for a short time) Geraldo Rivera's father-in-law. Rivera's marriage to Edith Vonnegut ended in 1974 because of his womanizing. Her ever-protective father was quoted as saying, "If I see Gerry again, I'll spit in his face." He also included an unflattering character named Jerry Rivers (a chauffeur) in a few of his books.

7. Andre Agassi's father represented Iran in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics as a boxer.

8. Charlemagne, the 8th-century king of the Franks, united much of Western Europe through military campaigns and has been called the "king and father of Europe" [PDF]. Charlemagne was also a devoted dad to about 18 children, and today, most Europeans may be able to claim Charlemagne as their ancestor.

9. The voice of Papa Smurf, Don Messick, also provided the voice of Scooby-Doo, Ranger Smith on Yogi Bear, and Astro and RUDI on The Jetsons.

10. In 2001, Yuri Usachev, cosmonaut and commander of the International Space Station, received a talking picture frame from his 12-year-old daughter while in orbit. The gift was made possible by RadioShack, which filmed the presentation of the gift for a TV commercial.

11. The only father-daughter collaboration to hit the top spot on the Billboard pop music chart was the 1967 hit single "Something Stupid" by Frank & Nancy Sinatra.

12. In the underwater world of the seahorse, it's the male that gets to carry the eggs and birth the babies.

13. If show creator/producer Sherwood Schwartz had gotten his way, Gene Hackman would have portrayed the role of father Mike Brady on The Brady Bunch.

14. The Stevie Wonder song "Isn't She Lovely" is about his newborn daughter, Aisha. If you listen closely, you can hear Aisha crying during the song.

15. Dick Hoyt has pushed and pulled his son Rick, who has cerebral palsy, through hundreds of marathons and triathlons. Rick cannot speak, but using a custom-designed computer he has been able to communicate. They ran their first five-mile race together when Rick was in high school. When they were done, Rick sent his father this message: "Dad, when we were running, it felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!"


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